Without all of the people in my life, my graduation wouldn't have been possible.

Alright, I admit it, I have a bit of nostalgia going on. Not everyone gets to celebrate a sixth birthday – spiritual that is. Yesterday, I turned six. And what a whirlwind these past six years have been. Homelessness, marriage, death of a spouse, suicide attempt, college graduation and now law school.

Last year, on my fifth birthday, I experienced nostalgia too, but differently. I guess that means I am getting more mature. Today, I realize just how much I have to be thankful for.

First, I am thankful for a God with a sense of humor. A God who is strong when we our weak and revels in using those of us who are the weakest and most broken vessels

Second, I am thankful for friends and family. (If I don’t name you by name, it doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for you, it just means there are too many awesome people in my life to name them all). Mike and Kathy Freeman, Steve and Kelly Zega, Robb and Vanessa Ryerse, Kat Moore, Chardonnay Mullin, Jim Ford, Hannah Salmonson, Patty Hand, Gary Webb, Liz Moore,  honestly, the list of wonderful people God has placed in my orbit is so huge, I don’t know where to stop Oh well, maybe I’ll name a few more, Jane, Bud, Sid Robinson, Molly. I also have a great family. All of them. Tabitha, Richard, Beryl, Fiona, Sophia, Maizey, Jikavi, Angelina, Brian,  Erick, Sarah, Alex, Gregg, and Joey. I am also thankful for the new friends God is putting in my life.

Third, I am thankful for second chances. Can you believe someone who was as messed up as I was, can be doing as well as I am? This is literally only because I serve an awesome God who believes in second chances and changed my life in miraculous ways. Six years ago, as I crawled into the back of my van to go to sleep, I never would have imagined that I would be in law school. Five years ago, when my greatest desire was to die, I never could have imagined life could be so wonderful. Four years ago, when I went back to college and my classes was literally all I felt I had to live for, I could never imagine loving my life and being so incredibly happy and blessed.

So what do I want for my birthday. I have a list (don’t worry, they are all free),

1. Never stop doing small kindnesses. I imagine some of you don’t know why you made it to the list. It’s because some of the smallest, simplest kindnesses, can make a huge difference in the life of someone who is hurting but has hidden that hurt behind such a strong facade that no one sees the pain. Those kindnesses may literally make the biggest difference in someone’s life and you may never see the fruit, but oh, how sweet that fruit can be.

2. Pray for me. Pray for me in law school, pray for my family and pray for one another. And pray really, really hard for the one person in my family that is still missing. I have shed more tears over the last few years because of this loss. A part of me is missing with him too.Pray without ceasing.

3. Love one another. Remember life is short, and you never know when someone might be taken from you. Love strong, love hard, love tight. Just love.

4. Pat yourself on the back for  being there for me. You deserve so much of the credit. Thank you.


About michellerap

Today I find my identity in God. I use to find my identity in externals, like motherhood, being a lawyer, etc. But that's not who I am. I am redeemed and wholly loved and precious in His sight. First and foremost, this is who I am. The other things are part of me, but they do not define me. God does. My job as a Christian is not to judge people but to show them the heart and hands of Christ. I am to show mercy and grace. And someday, when I am an attorney, I hope I can help those God puts in my path to find justice. I am a mother of four and a grandmother of nine. I am proud of each of them. I also have three dogs. I am lawyer who loves what I do. I am also Gluten-Free and any recipe I publish is GF. It's the only way I cook.
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